Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park is one of Hackney’s finest green spaces and is listed as a Grade II park on Historic England’s register of parks and gardens of historic interest.
As one of the ‘Magnificent 7’ cemeteries in London, it’s the resting place of around 200,000 people in 60,000 graves ranging from elaborate monuments to path-side common grave markers.
It covers 12.5 hectares and is located between Stoke Newington Church Street and Stoke Newington High Street.
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We have been successful in our application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to improve Abney Park. The project aims to conserve and develop all aspects of the park, its built and natural heritage and improve the park users’ experience.
The park’s historic chapel will be brought back into use as a venue and there will be a new café and classroom at the park’s main entrance, as well as a new accessible entrance on Church Street.
Work to restore the interior of the Chapel will include a new floor, new toilet facilities, electricity, lighting, and new seating at balcony level. The new classroom and café will provide refreshments for park visitors, as well as an interpretation of the site’s incredible history. An environmentally-friendly heat pump will be installed in the park to provide heat and hot water to the new buildings:
The restoration project started 6 September and is due to be completed by Spring 2023. Thank you for your patience during the work.
The Abney Park Trust office will be closed for the duration of the project, and the Trust will operate out of a temporary office.
To find out more, please read the restoration project FAQs:
New Abney Park cafe
As part of the larger restoration project, a new cafe facility will be built where the old portacabin was located. As well as providing a place to get refreshments, relax, and meet with friends and family, it will also form an important income stream to the park to assist with funding the future management and maintenance of the wider park.
We will be looking to tender the opportunity in the near future. You can express your interest by signing up for updates.
Images of proposed cafe
The Abney unearthed project aims to research, map and learn about the people buried in Abney Park when the park operated as a commercial cemetery from 1840 to the late 1970s.
The project tells the story of the park and how it reflects the changes that have taken place in Hackney and East London since the cemetery opened in 1840.
The project means we finally know exactly who is buried in Abney and where their graves are.
Find out if someone’s buried in Abney Park
It can be very difficult to find a grave even with a plot number – the ground around them can be uneven and overgrown, with low visibility, so we recommend one of our staff come with you.
If you decide to explore without our help, please bear in mind that, as well as a memorial park, Abney Park is also a nature reserve and an important site for a variety of plants and wildlife – so please take care not to damage the memorials or disturb the vegetation or habitats.
Abney Unearthed is working hard to replace as much missing information as possible By checking every grave. However, there are still gaps in the burial information:
- records for May 1970 – May 1974 and May 1978 – March 1979 are missing
- records for Jan 1935 – March 1936 are missing
- records for Jan 1903 to Jan 1904 are missing
- not all plot numbers are on the maps
- not all burials are marked or have a headstone
- common graves are often unmarked and we are unable to locate any prior to 1918
Common graves are also often unmarked on the plot maps but we do have some knowledge of their locations. Abney Unearthed has so far added around 200 common graves to the plot maps.
No longer a working cemetery, Abney Park is run as a park and is a site of metropolitan importance for biodiversity. It’s one of London’s most central woodlands and an important site for deadwood invertebrates and fungi.
The site was formed in 1840 from the estates of Fleetwood House and Abney House. Abney House had been the home of renowned non-conformist and hymn writer Isaac Watts, which led to Abney Park becoming the foremost burial ground for Dissenters – people who practised their religion outside the established church.
It was founded on these principles, with a non-denominational chapel, and was open to all, regardless of their religion.
The cemetery was designated a local nature reserve in 1993 due to its value for people and wildlife. It’s also a metropolitan site of importance for nature conservation, meaning that it’s one of the most important nature sites in London.
It’s home to an impressive collection of trees, as it was originally laid out around 1840 as an arboretum – a labelled tree collection.
Abney Park Cemetery has around 200 old trees in it. In 1840 the site was planted as an arboretum of exotic trees by Hackney’s famous Loddiges nursery. Several rare and interesting old trees remain from this period. As the cemetery business declined in the 20th century, the woodland seeded itself and the reserve is now one of London’s most important sites for wildlife.
The concentration of old trees, excellent deadwood habitats, and the fact that the site has never been built on, make Abney Park a priceless inner London haven for invertebrates and fungi. Bats, tawny owls, sparrowhawks, wood mice and bank voles also find homes here.
The Abney Park Veteran Tree Project was created in 2009 in recognition of the importance of the old trees. The project was funded by the London Tree and Woodland Grant Scheme.
- veteran trees leaflet by Russell Miller
- The Trees and Woodland of Abney Park Cemetery – article by Russell Miller
There’s an abundance of wildlife in Abney Park Cemetery. A local amateur naturalist has produced some drawings of the birds and butterflies that are present there:
The ecology of Abney Park
The park was previously managed by Abney Park Trust, a charitable trust who leased the park from the Council between 1992 and 2015.
They’re still closely involved in an educational and community capacity, and receive a Council grant to run activities at the site including workshops for both adults and children, guided walks and practical volunteering.
For more information on events and activities see Abney Park Trust.
Abney Park is a unique and atmospheric place and has provided a backdrop for films, music videos and other media. If you’d like to film in Abney Park please contact our film office.
The cemetery dates back to 1840 and there are a large number of memorials, some of which are very old and need to be inspected to make sure they’re safe.
As the grave stones and memorials are inspected, some may need to be cordoned off or possibly laid flat. If you visit the cemetery please stay on the paths and observe the safety notices. Families of the deceased whose graves are affected will be informed where possible.
Barbecues are not allowed in Abney Park.
If you’d like to volunteer as part of one of our projects, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep up to date with Hackney parks
Abney Park Cemetery
- Closing Times:
- 1-13 Jan: 4.30pm
- 14-24 Jan: 5pm
- 25 Jan-7 Feb: 5.30pm
- 8-28 Feb: 6pm
- 1-14 Mar: 6.30pm
- 15-27 Mar: 7pm
- 28 Mar-4 Apr: 8pm
- 5-18 Apr: 8.30pm
- 19 Apr-9 May: 9pm
- 10 May-8 Aug: 9.30pm
- 9-22 Aug: 9pm
- 23 Aug-19 Sep: 8pm
- 20 Sep-3 Oct: 7pm
- 4-17 Oct: 7pm
- 18-30 Oct: 6.30pm
- 31 Oct-28 Nov: 5pm
- 29 Nov-31 Dec: 4.30pm